We’ve written in this blog before about the distribution requirement to support the retail omni-channel trend. As a distribution company and retail supplier you need to be aware of your customer’s challenges and the solutions they are looking for.
The end customer wants fast delivery of products anytime and anywhere. The biggest hurdle is the last mile delivery to the customer’s door. Just like the delivery challenge of a fast Internet connection is between the street box and inside the customer’s home based on the existing older infrastructure of copper wires. Retailers are searching for how to bridge that last mile quicker at a reasonable cost (other than using drones!).
Now, there may be a new addition or direction for omni-channel delivery that distributors should consider. This recent article in Logistics Management discusses using transportation and courier services like Uber to transport items the last mile to customers.
Apparently, the current delivery model in the United States using only the big transportation carriers (Fedex, UPS, DHL, etc.) is not how the rest of the globe works. In Europe, services are contracted with a variety of smaller local carriers.
Uber recently joined in a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University for the Uber Advanced Technologies Center to research autonomous vehicles. Google has also been noted as working on self-driving vehicles. Can these transport innovations and technologies in the consumer sector change logistics and supply chain networks?
On demand delivery, especially on a regional or local level with mobile apps and self-employed entrepreneurs like Uber drivers, may offer a lower cost alternative to even the US Postal Service.
Delivering packages might be a specialty service many drivers would consider preferable to dealing with passengers. This idea is, of course, limited to the cities and areas where Uber and its competitor, Lyft, operate. Keep in mind the number of their cities and locations is expanding rapidly.
As a local distributor, next time a customer requests an immediate, same day delivery, it may be that contacting Uber will be your lowest cost alternative. If you think about it, this type of last mile delivery offers more flexibility and timeliness for your business and your distribution client’s customer. Just make certain the vehicle can handle the weight and cube of the items!
A new type of transportation service option for Uber and Lyft drivers presents a need for additional data fields in the mobile transportation applications. Plus, your ordering platform, vendor database and Enterprise Resource Planning system billing module will need additional fields and updates to support a new delivery method.
Plan for the future now and contact Socius to review how your systems can support the rapidly evolving delivery landscape, and stay tuned to this website for more updates on how to support supply chain transformations.